Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Can the power of the blogosphere find me somewhere to live?

So I hope everyone is doing alright,

Due to the difficult situation mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm thinking of moving into Washington DC proper. Currently I live in Frederick, Md, which is a great small city and really cheap but I think a change of scenery physically would help my mental scenery to change.

The issue is that I don't have a huge salary and I will be on a reasonably tight budget. So what I'm wondering is if anyone knows anybody (friends, family, whatever) who might like a roomate for a rent in the $700-800 region.

Ideally I'd like to be as downtown as possible in DC and close to a metro station. Perhaps this is a reach but you never know until you ask.

Thanks in advance to any offers.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeping Busy Part 1.

Hi everyone,

So the blog is going to shift a little bit for the near future as I'm going through a bunch of stuff in real life. This particular post could apply to gaming as well though so it can stay.

The merits of keeping busy.

So since I'm starting to deal with things I've stepped up what I'm doing a whole bunch and I have plans that need to be worked on.

- Make plans with OSH to hang out. Looking forward to seeing how his wife is looking now with the incoming baby.
- Planning to bike into DC tomorrow and enjoy the good weather. I'm going to do a museum or two and try to meet up with an old friend from college who moved here.
- Tomorrow night, going to grill and have a beer with my buddy Boxer (morning show host for 98.7 WMZQ-FM) from work.
- Emailed a writer's group in my town that I can join. I have novels (steampunk, space thriller, dystopian sci-fi, horror) and children's stories that I want to finish/start and having a group of people around will be good for me, both for this and for generally keeping busy.

- Join the Mixed Martial Arts Gym in my town and start really training again. I have done Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and more in my life but I want to get that fighting spirit (and body) back again.
- Paint up more models when I have a bit of downtime; don't want to be sitting around feeling lonely or sad.
- Learn to draw so that I can add illustrations to my children's stories. That way even if they don't get published for real, I can make copies for friends and family.
- Get out and go hiking, biking, swimming or whatever while the summer weather is still so good.
- Finish my almost complete novel! Grr, been doing this for too long now.

Phew, it looks pretty good so far. I'm quite excited to get going with all of this and I think it will be good for me.

On a modelling front it will help as I will have limited downtime (hopefully) and so whenever I get a chance to paint I will really enjoy it. Doing for a short time can also be good as you get to do bits here and there on models that don't seem like too much until you realise you've finished a whole batch and never got bored or discouraged because it was only done in parts.

All the best to everyone and thanks for the good wishes.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Everything on hold. Real life problems :-(

Hey everyone.

Unfortunately my blog and hobby time are going to be completely on hold for the immediate forseeable future due to some pretty major things going on that will be dominating my life.

While I may get some time in to do painting or whatever, right now I can't even concentrate mentally on anything but what's happening to my life. Even that is hard and so any painting stuff will probably just be used as a way to unwind and try to gain some control over what's going on.

Unfortunately nothing is definite about how the situation will resolve and in some ways that is the hardest part.

Thanks for all of the support you have given and I promise to come back as soon as I can find the time and emotional energy.

All the best to you and I will keep checking in on your blogs.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great humour piece from Privateer press.

***The following is completely the work of the Privateer press team and was taken from their website without permission. Please go there to read the original Privateer Insider article and to browse the others. They are a collection of really interesting pieces describing things from the perspective of the PP team. One week might be an editor, next a sculptor, studio painter, artist, playtester, photographer etc. They are like GW's daily updates except that they don't feel like an advert for whatever latest product is on offer. Highly reccomended. The following piece made me laugh so much that I nearly spat out my lunch at my desk - not advised if you want a promotion lol. Hopefully you enjoy***

Typos come with the territory for an editor. Most of them we fix without a second’s thought, but occasionally there are those that make us pause to appreciate the glory of an error-induced perspective.

I’m not talking about the use of “there” instead of “their”—that’s just the wrong word—but about the slip of the fingers on the keyboard that turns “the” into “teh,” “dragon” into “draggon,” or “glory” into “gory.” (Ha! “The gory of an error-induced perspective.” Yes, I can appreciate that. I’m a terrible typist myself.)

For example, before handing over the Trollbloods story for editing, Doug warned me he seemed to be having trouble typing Gunnbjorn’s name. “You’ll have to keep an eye out for any stray Bunnbjorns,” he noted. Whether your mind goes to buff Swedes or rabbit ears, the image isn’t exactly what we had in mind for our new trollkin warlock. Then again, perhaps a conversion is appropriate . . .

While I polish up some awesomeness for your Gen Con enjoyment, here are a few sentences showing the entertaining effect of some of my favorites among the typos I’ve seen—or made!—lately.

A small group of trollin crept through the brush.

Trollin are actually the members of a kriel who have to crawl home after a night of carousing, I think.

The leader scammed the stone construction in progress below.

He was such a good salesman he could sell stone to a wall in the middle of a quarry.

Doomshaper is no fresh-faced walrock.

No, that particular wall of rock has been around for a while . . . “Warlock” seems to give many of us particular trouble, and this is only one variation. Also common are warrocks, which I gather are a new weapon class; warcloaks, which besides being snazzy are actually pretty darn useful in the field; and warclocks, which I must admit have a certain Dr. Doom appeal. Plus it’s always handy to know when it’s teatime.

Guts and Gears podcats are great to listen to while painting.

Their album Stray Thoughts is a howl.

Such complexes were used by skorne breaders to develop their enormous warbeats.

Enormous breaded warbeets would be yummy! But, alas, we get only aspiring DJs out to spawn a skorne revolution in techno-bone-crunch-hypno-groove.

Perhaps if he had a hungred trollkin warriors with him he could take it.

Appropriately enough, it takes only a few trollkin to make up a hungred. Fewer if any are full-blood trolls or they haven’t had any breaded warbeets in a while.

The ink contains enough poison and noon-organic material to resist the trollkins’ regenerative powers.

Tattoos made with such ink become invisible for several hours in the middle of the day, making that the perfect time for job interviews and meeting the parents of potential mates.

Dragonspawn are a vicious funtion of draconic blight.

Because what’s more fun than blight? Making dragonspawn from it! Crunchy on the outside, oily on the inside . . .

The Lancer raised its sock shield to intercept the Revenger’s spear.

Spear-repellant textile production is a burgeoning industry in the Iron Kingdoms. Cygnar prefers athletic styles but has yet to master moisture wicking, while Khador is developing a proprietary wool blend from the coats of several indigenous ovine species.

Friday, July 9, 2010

40k is still fun.

Just a quick post to mention something that I came to think about after my game with Old Shatter Hands last weekend.

40k is still a lot of fun.

Recently I've been getting frustrated with the direction that GW is taking their business practices (and prices), codex releases (or lack thereof) and becoming more interested in alternative games. I'm not going to stop looking into new things as the freshness of Warmachine/Hordes is great, Nuclear Renaissance is so cool and cheap and other games still pull me (must resist flames of war) but the actual game of 40k is still fun.

I really had a blast challenging OSH and playing through each turn of firepower, movement and brutal assault. I like matching up distinctly opposed force styles and having a raging wargame to work with. The space marines are still awesome, even if BA are a tad powerful, and trying to play the Tau as a modern force is a great challenge.

If only GW was a bit cheaper I'd love to buy some more Tau and finish off my own army to 1500-2000 points. I think it's a testament to the fun still in the game that I can be pulled so strongly towards a company that has a number of practises I don't like.

That's all really. I just realised that my blog recently has been moving away from 40k a lot and I wanted to put in that I still enjoy it. Once I get my Tau army done I will happily play with them or my marines and not buy anything else.


PS: I'm on the last chapter of my novel...fina-fricking-lly. Now I just need to finish it off, go through and edit/rewrite the whole thing and then start sending it off to publishers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Battle report vs Old Shatter Hands. Blood Angels against tau.

Hey all,

So I've been lax in reporting on my game last saturday with OSH but I've finally got some energy to get typing. No pictures sadly because I forgot my camera. OSH got some on his phone so if he passes them over I will upload.

EDIT: A photo has come. This shows the critical moment before my Lib Dread got the charge.

So Blood Angels vs Tau. This was a chance for me to try assaulty marines and for OSH to get some field experience on the Multitrackers versus Targeting arrays debate seen here.

OSH took (roughly, this is from memory) the following, based on his 2k list brought down to 1500.

HQ - Shas'El: plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array, target lock + 2 gun drones
HQ - Shas'El: plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array, target lock + 2 gun drones

Elites - 3 Crisis suits, 2 fireknives (plas/missile), 1 fireforge (fusion/missile), all with targetting arrays.
Elites - 3 Crisis suits, 2 fireknives (plas/missile), 1 fireforge (fusion/missile), all with targetting arrays

Troops - 6 Fire warriors in devilfish
Troops - 6 Fire warriors
Troops - 10 kroot and 5 kroot hounds

Fast Attack - 8 pathfinders with devilfish
Fast Attack - 2 Fusion Piranhas

Heavy Support - Broadside + 2 shield drones
Heavy Support - Broadside + 2 shield drones

After dealing with the blood angel codex organisation issues discussed here I came up with a list to fight against the Tau.

HQ - Librarian with Blood Lance (4d6" S8 AP1 Lance) and Wings of Sanguinus (move like a jump pack).

Elites - 5 Sanguinary guard with banner, because they are very cool.
Elites - 3 Sanguinary priests to give my troops Feel No Pain and Furious Charge.
Elites - Librarian Dreadnough with the aforementioned Wings of Sanguinius and Might of Ancients (+D3 attacks).

Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.
Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.
Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.

Fast Attack - Baal Predator with twin-linked assault cannons and heavy bolters.
Fast Attack - Baal Predator with twin-linked assault cannons and heavy bolters.
Fast Attack - 3 Land Speeders. Multi-melta and flamer, multi-melta, assault cannon and heavy bolter.

I was trying to play a nasty tournament-style list. It's a long way from what I would usually play but I went with it to give OSH practise for the NOVA open he's going to, where BA will undoubtedly be well represented. I did choose sanguinary guard because they are cool though, and I equipped the landspeeders WYSIWYG rather than just going melta/flamer. A bit more expensive but more characterful in my view.

I will go generally over the game as it's been a few days and I can't remember exactly what happened on what turn.

OSH goes first. My Sang Guard are deep striking, Baals outflanking. His firepower blows up one rhino and knocks the storm bolter from another. In my first turn everybody hustles forwards at high speed (woah, fast marines) with my speeders turbo boosting and my librarian dread jump pack running some 15"+. The foot librarian hits the piranhas with blood lance but no penetration (S8 vs AV11).
OSH proceeds to immobilise my damaged rhino, kill 2 speeders, blow the MM from the third, knock off the dreads DCCW and kill a marine who is on foot. In my turn I get the Sang Guard and pull off a critical move. Thinking like I'm playing warmachine, where clearing a charge lane to the caster can win the game, I jump my lib dread into a small gap between a devilfish, fire warriors and drones. My speeder then comes up and flames the troops, opening a charge gap to the crisis suits behind the drones. The sang guard blow up the devilfish with their inferno pistol and the dread charges into combat. Even with only a S6 force weapon, he wins combat. Doesn't catch the crisis team though, but sadly for OSH, they run from the board. One flank is now collapsed.
OSH retaliates next turn by killing the dread and shooting a couple of sang guard with the piranhas. His broadside also pastes my librarian who'd moved out to get a blood lance shot. Otherwise, he's pretty backed into a corner on the 4x4 board. My turn gets me both Baals, one on each flank. I basically grind forwards with my marines, one squad assaulting and beating the kroot over a couple of turns, the speeder flames out the pathfinders and I move forwards.
OSH keeps fighting and downing marines but he's too hemmed in and my pincer movement ends up having only his crisis team still alive by turn 5 and facing a lot of foes.

Victory for the Blood Angels.

So BA thoughts...

- Blood Angels are fast! Having up to 18" movement on all rhino chassis vehicles is a huge deal and let me clear the board with ease. I was restricted much more by terrain than by distance. Scouting/outflanking Baals are super nasty too.
- Jump pack librarians seem a little unfair, particularly against Tau where they can't damage them in assault.
- Blood Lance is nasty against big tanks but is still a single S8 hit and will roll low on a number of shots. It does better if you can line up multiple units to take a hit. I consider it a powerful but well balanced power.
- Getting furious charge and Feel No Pain is extremely good for assault troops.

Tau thoughts

- I think I'm with OSH on getting +1 BS for crisis suits rather than multitrackers, particularly against MEQ. At range his suits would be almost deathrains (66% hit rate vs 75%) and then when I got into plasma range I'd be hit by BS4 AP2 shots. It is particularly nasty against Blood Angels as I had no wound allocation games to play. If he'd fired missiles too I could have stacked the plasma shots onto particular models and gotten my FNP saves on others. As it was, I had no save at all (see next point) and my marines went down fast.
- Markerlights are great in terrain. OSH got some good hits (5-6) on certain turns and would strip my cover saves as well as boosting his hit rolls. I'm just glad he didn't have any seeker missiles.
- Facing a footslogging Tau army is quite tough as they can put out a lot more firepower than the usual mech force. On a bigger table, I think I would have been a lot more challenged to win. The smaller table and the librarian charge really made it work for me.
- Drones can be used very very effectively as movement and assault blockers. They also carry pinning guns which can be used to penetrate rhino armour. Don't ignore the little guys if they get behind you or you might end up HAVING YOUR BAAL DIE TO TWO LITTLE FLYING TOASTERS WHO GET A PENETRATING REAR ARMOUR SHOT AND ROLL A 6. Ahem, caps lock off. Me and OSH definitely laughed about this one and it was a great comeback moment that weakened my right flank.

We discussed what OSH could have done to change the game and I don't think there were any big failings. The dice and table were kind to me for sure. I suggested that in the tournament he should be willing to break the HQ suit off from the team to take a charge if need be. Had that happened, I would have probably killed the Shas'El but then lost my dread to a full team of Crisis suits with fusion and missiles. Not losing that flank would have let OSH hold me off a lot more effectively.

I look forward to reading about how his tournament goes as at 2k he will have a lot more railguns. We both agreed that heavy tanks should be ignored in favour of rhinos for railguns as a hit will always at least glance and slow the attack.

Thanks for reading and thanks OSH for the game and for loaning me the models.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blood Angels Codex review.

Hey everyone.

So last night I managed to play a game against Old Shatter hands' new tau list, albeit pointed down to 1500. Since I'm dog sitting at a friend's house and forgot to bring my models OSH brought his Blood Angels so I could use them. We thought it would be a fun experience for me to play a more assault style and good practice for him as BA are undoubtedly going to be heavily represented in the tournament.

The battle report will come later when I get time and energy to write it up but I wanted to drop a few thoughts on the BA codex as I hadn't read it until last night.

So my first impression is to do with GW editing. The photos and fluff are really nice and well laid out (wish they had a model for the Stormraven) but the various rules? Gah, a total mess.

For starters, the order of the entries. Tactical, Assault (ok troops first, sounds good), then devastators (ok, switch to heavy support), then veterans (jump to elite), terminators (good still elite, maybe it was a printing error), nope dreadnoughts next (HS), bikes (FA?), scouts (troops), Drop pods (ded. trans.), Land Speeders (FA), Rhinos and variants (mixed FOC), Baal (FA), Land Raider (ded. trans.), Storm Raven, Techmarine, HQs (at least they are together, except for elite chaplains sneaking in there, oh and elite sanguinary priests, oh and elite sanguinary guard). Whew, what a mess.

Why is it so hard for GW to have things logically laid out. Go down the FOC, warmachine does it and it works fine. HQs, elites, troops, fast attack then heavy support. It's not that hard and it doesn't cause issues. The army list at least goes with this logical format, which is good or I might have given up before making a list.

I'm also not a fan of how GW scatters rules around the book like crazy. I was constantly flipping from army list to wargear, then being told the rules were on a model's page and then finding that in the messed up order from before. Why don't all the wargear rules stay in the wargear section? Except those in the main rulebook (power fists, grenades etc.) just keep the rules in one place. Or, better yet, have the rules on the model pages and the wargear section.

Anyhoo, formatting aside, the army is really good.

You get the strengths of the regular marine codex but with so many more options as well. Having fast Rhino chassis vehicles is extremely powerful and this helps step the codex up in the mechanised race of 5th edition. Assault marines as troops is nice, but really brought up to deadly by having the discounted rhinos (dropping jump packs lets yuu get a 50pt rhino at a 35pt discount...and it's fast) and getting FNP and Furious Charge-causing Sanguinary priests. If you need to sit on a home objective you can always take tac marines or scouts, but assault marines in rhinos will really hit your opponent in the face quickly.

Fast, scouting Baal Predators are nasty. I outflanked them, which was a nice way to keep them from the Tau firepower early on but even if going second, go 18" in the scout move and pop smoke (that's allowed now). With a 12" deployment you are now 30" across the table before the game has even begun. You could easily get side/rear armour shots on your opponent on your first turn. Very nasty and it forces them to be dealt with early on.

I like the psychic powers, though they aren't the be all and end all. Blood Lance (4D6" range, S8 AP1 lance attack) sounds nasty but remember that it's only a S8 hit and so your librarian could, like mine, fail to roll high enough to damage even a Piranha's AV11 before getting hit with a railgun and dying badly. The Wings of Sanguinius (move like a jump pack) is a pretty neat power, made horribly powerful by putting it on a Librarian dreadnought. It's fair to say that being able to jump my dread into a small gap in front of Old Shatter Hands crisis team, clear the charge lane and assault a total of 18" from my starting point was a game-changing move.

The special characters seem pretty cool but they are a bit more toned down than some of the regular marine SCs, so I'm good with that. Sure Mephiston eats anything for breakfast but he's only one guy and costs as much as a land raider. I think that the melta/flamer/Thunder hammmering Vulkan armies can be a bit nastier overall.

So final thoughts. The good:
- Fast Vehicles
- Good troops
- Really versatile army build that can be as shooty as regular marines and hits harder in CC.
- Fun special characters who rock, but don't offer such OTT no brainer choices that the regular marine codex does (25pts extra for MC combi weapon, T6 and FNP on my chaplain...I'll take Cassius thankyou).

The bad.
- Formatting. The book is just horribly disorganised in my view and it doesn't make for good reading about the units. The fluff and army list are solidly set out though, but units and wargear are messy.
- Deep striking land raiders. While tactically I have no issue against it (it's risky), the fluff is just silly. They drop the tanks from Thunderhawk transporters and trust in its armour to hold up. For starters, the enemy should be able to see these big aircraft coming in and shoot at them but mainly it's a silly way to make the land raider seem tough. Dropping 60+ tons of armour will break stuff inside it, no matter how it's made. If it was tough enough to deal with a drop of several hundred feet, then anti armour weapons basically wouldn't work against it, it would be so tough. If it's dropped from, say 30 feet, then why aren't these massive hovering TH transporters at risk from being blown out of the sky? As a more plausible descripion, why not drop it from high up but with with retro rockets that slow it down and then drop off when it lands (see dawn of war IG building deployment)?

Anyway I will aim to write up a batrep soon.

Thanks for reading.